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« January Reads: Books to Start the New Year | Main | Short Story Sunday: The Heroine »

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Lark

You make me want to pull out my set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books and reread them all! I love these books. They take me back to childhood. This post brought a smile to my face on a rather gray and cold January day. So thanks!

Cath

After reading your post yesterday I grabbed The Long Winter and couldn't resist starting it. It's beautiful. Fantastic descriptions of the prairie. Only one problem, I can't keep on with this series as I don't own the next one, Little Town on the Prairie. Will certainly have to put that right!

LauraC

I LOVED the Little house books as a child. As soon as I had a daughter I got her the books. She didn't like them. She said that all the family did was move. She was quite fond of Caddie Woodlawn who apparently had more adventures and therefore was more interesting. Pooh! When I read them a thousand years ago, Farmer Boy was my least favorite-boys! Yuck! But as an adult, I think Farmer Boy might be my favorite. All that good food while Laura's family's meals were a little boring. I loved On the banks of Plumb Creek too-what an interesting idea for a house.

Kailana

I don't need another project for 2014, but I wouldn't mind rereading this at some point. I have all the books from when I was a kid and I didn't take them off my shelves.

Kate S.

I did the same a year or so ago and found myself rereading the whole series in short order. Like you, I found it an interesting mix of nostalgia for beloved childhood books and adult reassessment of the story. On the latter point, I found myself wanting to dig a little deeper and so followed up with Pamela Smith Hill's wonderful bio, "Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life" which I recommend highly.

Danielle

Go and grab them and we can read them together! :) I can't remember which I read and which I didn't (other than remembering the first book quite well). They are perfect stories for these gray January days. Farmer Boy starts out in winter, too!

Danielle

Yay--I've 'inspired' someone to go pull a Little House book off the shelf! :) I agree that the stories are marvelous--and I love the descriptions, too. Are the books fairly easy to get in the UK? I am so happy I splurged on the box set--I have a nice collection now of pristine copies (though by the time I finish I imagine they will be slightly banged up.).

Danielle

They do move a lot, don't they?! :) Maybe if she tries them again later when she is older she might like them more? I was just thinking that I should read Caddie Woodlawn, too. I think I am a diehard fan of the Little House books, though. I think I avoided Farmer Boy entirely for just the same reason, but I am thoroughly enjoying it now. It's funny in the first book there is so much about collecting the sap from the Maple trees and turning it into sugar--it was making me hungry. I don't mind reading about their meals at all by the way! I am so looking forward to making my way through the rest of the books!

Danielle

I know what you mean...I was thinking that I am enjoying these books so much I should tackle LM Montgomery finally, too, but then I had to stop myself and rethink my plans. First things first--keep reading the Little House books, and only when I finish think about something new...this is how I get myself into trouble! I know as kids my sisters and I owned all the books but I am not sure what happened to them--maybe they are still at my mom's house.

Danielle

Two ladies I work with also reread the books about a year ago, too. They are such great stories to revisit. It is very interesting looking at them from an adult perspective. I am happy to see, though they have that nostalgic feel to them, the stories/storytelling is not at all cloying or overly sentimental. I do plan on reading more about the books--and I think my library has the Hill biography, but I think I will wait until I am a little closer to getting through with all the books first. Maybe it's just timing, but I am so enjoying these stories now.

Penny

I've read this series so many times in my life I've lost count, Danielle. I love them each time I read them and I get something different out of them as well. I think we take away different things at different times with many books. One of the beautiful things about the LIttle House books is that the seem to stand the course of time and age.

This was such a marvelous review with a fresh perspective of Little House in the Big Woods for me. I think I mentioned before that I had just pulled this out, again.

You should enjoy "Farmer Boy" now. I love reread it. Fair warning, you may want to pop some popcorn. I always do when I read it.

Enjoy!

Cath

Yes, they're reasonably easy to get. You might not see them in bookshops - maybe just one or two - but I can order from Amazon. The ones I'm reading belonged to my eldest daughter as a child. She adored them and read them over and over and they are, as you so aptly put it, very 'banged up'. You made me think so perhaps I'll treat myself to a nice clean boxed set this year.

Sarah

Thank you for your lovely review. I reread these a few year back but as, like others, I never read Farmer Boy as a child I skipped it again as I didn't have a copy.

I think I may pick a Little House book off my shelves this afternoon as I'm restocking the freezer and so looking for a book to fill the gaps between soups and stews. But which one to pick? I think if I start at the beginning I will have to go and buy Farmer Boy so I can read the whole series properly for the first time!

Laura

This was such an enjoyable review and makes me want to go and grab my copy and start reading even though my series are falling apart from use and age. Hope you enjoy the other books in the series just as much. Will be interested to hear if you have a favorite when you get done. I always wished she'd written another Farmer Boy book...

Lark

That's the one I've read the least, so it's definitely time for me to read it again. You've inspired me. I'm getting it off my shelf today. Happy Reading!

Danielle

I splurged on the nice paper boxed set before the holidays. It was discounted to begin with and then I had a discount coupon so I got a really good deal. I probably would have bought them anyway, but cheaper is always good! :) I think the books must be fairly well known and well loved by children all over, which is sort of comforting to know.

Danielle

That sounds perfect--this is a treat of a book and deserves a treat while reading, too. Have you noticed (and I am sure you have) how much there is in the books about food? Reading them is making me hungry every time I pick them up. I was wondering if the writing would feel sentimental or preachy, but it doesn't at all--even with the references to no work on Sunday and resting--the stories truly have a timeless feel to them. I am SO glad I picked them up and look forward to reading each volume in turn!

Danielle

This is a post I enjoyed writing and was easy to do as I loved the book so much. I think Farmer Boy is going to be equally easy to write. I am reading it slowly and savoring the story, though I am sure I will reach a point where I don't want to put it down. I am sure when I was young I read the books haphazardly and a few most likely not at all (Farmer Boy!), so it is fun reading them in order. I will enjoy watching Laura grow up and see the family's progress. And these seem the perfect book to have in hand ti read snippets of while doing something else. Enjoy!!

Danielle

Isn't it funny but she has me on tenterhooks to find out what happens to Almanzo and the schoolhouse bullies (well, actually his teacher and those bullies). I am very much looking forward to reading all the books and will be curious, too, to see if there is one that becomes a favorite, too. Not sure if it is timing or what--but I am so glad I picked these books up this year--they are a wonderful way to begin this year's reading!

Danielle

Wonderful! Let me know how you get on with it. I am hoping to turn off the computer very soon and settle down with a book or two before bedtime and Farmer Boy will be one of them! I sort of want to try and take my time with it--don't want to rush the books! I think if I let myself--I would easily gulp them down in one go!

Caroline

This sounds so lovely, makes me want to join you as well.
I have to see if I can find a cheap copy/copies.
It's true what you say, those times seem less complicated but there was still a lot of hardship.

Helen

Oh, I too loved these books as a child (and I never read 'Farmer Boy' either, or 'The First Four Years'). How lovely to be rereading them! I too vividly remember the maple sugar snow episode, which is funny as I had never tasted maple syrup or heard of it before, so the whole thing seemed terribly exotic. Sugar out of trees!!

I'm reading Eowyn Ivey's 'The Snow Child' at the moment - later (1920s) and far more northerly (Alaska, brrrr), but that frontier life is similar, and so hard. To a child it must be magical though.

Jeane

I liked these so much as a child, especially reading about what daily life was like back then, how they had to do everything so differently. I wonder if I'd still enjoy them as an adult now.

Danielle

You should. These would be perfect to slip in between other reads as you can literally read them in just an afternoon! I am taking Farmer Boy slower--just want to enjoy it and don't want to string them all together, though I think I could probably read them in one big gulp! :) I am sort of (just sort of) envious of a plainer life that they had then. I could easily live without a lot of the crass consumerism we have now and I can certainly do without all the lousy TV, but I think ultimately I am too modern (and enjoy too many other conveniences) to realistically think I could live like they did then! I want to keep reading about this era, though.

Danielle

Those scenes always stayed with me. I always wanted to try and make that maple sugar candy and maybe someday I will! Now that would be a fun thing to do with a child (and an excuse to do it... :) ). Even though I live in Nebraska and the idea of Prairie life is not the least foreign to me, their lifestyle is still exotic! I really do need to read The Snow Child--I have a copy of it as well. It would be a perfect read for this time of year, I think. I might just have to go and pull it from my stacks now that you mention it.

Danielle

I bet you would. To me the stories seem to age really well--they are not in the least dated or feel saccharine or sentimental, which I was a little afraid of. I had that problem with LMA's Little Women. As much as I loved the story, even as an adult, it felt as though too much moralizing was going on at some points in the story. Not at all surprising considering when it was written, but a little harder to swallow as an adult. Life was very different and it is fascinating to read about it now!

Christy (A Good Stopping Point)

I remember that "Little House in the Big Woods" was my first 'chapter' book that I read, when I was in first grade. I think it was my teacher that encouraged me to read it, but it could have been my mom, since we owned the series.

When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I bought the Little House cookbook from a Scholastic book order. I think we tried the syrup on snow, but I don't remember it turning out as delicious as we hoped. The fried doughnuts were yummy though.

Danielle

I have that cookbook on my wishlist and think I will buy it sometime this year--if only to have as part of the set. I have a feeling that the syrup in the snow sounds better than it actually is--though I wonder if the syrup that they used would have been much different (and no doubt better?) than what we get in the stores. There are lots of scenes of eating and food in the books, aren't there?!

Helen

Comparing them would be fun! Although I should warn you, The Snow Child is beautiful but also full of sadness, so you need to be in the right mood for it (i.e., not weeping over all the New Year's Resolutions you've already broken). :)

Kathy

I think this year I'll reread some of these books instead of or in addition to the Anne of Green Gables books. I remember loving them as a child. I think a nice little Laura Ingalls Wilder project could be in the offing, as I have a couple of books about her in addition to books by her.

Stefanie

If only we could have simpler and easier! I had to laugh because I read all the books as a kid and the scene I remember from this one is the maple candy on the snow!

iliana

Oh Danielle, if I had these books right now I'd be tempted to pull one off the shelf! I remember I got some of the Little House books for Christmas one year and I was so excited. Unfortunately my books didn't survive an apartment flooding I had one time. Ugh. Looking forward to your review of Farmer Boy! I don't think I ever read that one.

Danielle

I think the only resolutions I ever make these days are about books--though sometimes I do want to weep when I mess those up! :) (Okay, not really, but I always have such high hopes when it comes to my reading). I have my copy close at hand so will take a look at it--I might wait for brighter (warmer!) days to actually start reading, though.

Danielle

I'd like to do some other reading that is related to Laura Ingalls Wilder--I know there are some other books out there--biographies and it seems as though there was a recent book about the Little House phenomenon. It crossed my mind that it would be fun to read the Anne books now, too, but I had better just tackle one project at a time for now!

Danielle

That's quite a vivid scene, isn't it? And anything with sweets usually catches my eye! :) I am all for simpler (and especially) easier!

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